By: Jennifer Nalbone
In each issue of the newsletter, GLAHNF profiles one of its Advisory Panel Members. In this issue, we’re pleased to tell you about Jennifer Nalbone and Great Lakes United. Jen has served as a GLAHNF Advisory Panel Member since 1999.
Growing up on the shores of Lake Erie, Jennifer Nalbone never thought she would make her way back home for a career in environmental activism.”Through school I dreamt about diving with Jacques Cousteau or hanging Greenpeace banners. I didn’t realize that there was amazing work protecting the Great Lakes in my own backyard.My mom is thrilled.”
After receiving a masters in environmental science and spending a few years in research, “… an excellent training for an environmental activist, applying the concept of ecosystem carrying capacity to the way we behave as a society…” Jen found her way back to the Great Lakes and began working for Great Lakes United in 1999 as the Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force coordinator.
Great Lakes United (GLU) is an international coalition of organizations and individuals from the United States, Canada and First Nations/tribes working to protect and restore the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin. GLU’s members include environmental, conservation, hunting and fishing organizations, unions, tribes, academic groups, and many more. “Its exciting,” Jen said “when the coalition gets together, we hammer out a sound, practical, and progressive ‘ecosystem approach’ to the constantly evolving and interrelated issues occurring in the Great Lakes basin. What fantastic direction the grassroots provides.”
For GLU’s Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force, Jen builds regional coalition and coordinates campaigns on critical and emerging issues that impact habitat and biodiversity in the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system. Currently, she is responsible for three campaigns addressing the Great Lakes Navigation System review, aquatic invasive species, and proposals to bury utilities under the Great Lakes. These campaigns were chosen by the Task Force to fill critical voids in regional leadership until the issues are resolved, or Great Lakes organizations build capacity to address the issues. In a sense, the GLU’s Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force often works as an incubator for urgent Great Lakes-specific campaigns.
“Working with GLAHNF in the capacity of a regional coordinator is absolutely essential. For many of the inquiries that come across my desk, GLAHNF is the first resource to which I send people. I am happy to serve as an Advisor and ensure that GLAHNF continues to be one of the best services to citizen volunteers and activists in the Great Lakes region. To provide good-minded folks with the leverage to move forward…its very rewarding. I love what I do.”